First time in at least 25 years that a Bristol Bay processor has announced its base price this early in the year.
In a news release published in KDLG, primary processor of Alaska salmon Peter Pan Seafoods explained that it set the base price early to “put the fleet at ease that they will receive a fair price for the long hours and hard work they are about to endure” during the fishery.
The company announced a base price of USD 1.10 per pound (USD 2.4 per-kilo). Peter Pan’s 2021 base price is higher than last year’s price of USD 0.70 per-pound (USD 1.5 per kilo) although it is lower than the 2019 price of USD 1.35 (USD 2.9 per-kilo), wrote the publication.
“We know where the base is going to be set now, we can look at the market and know what we have coming up for our fresh markets and our frozen markets, and it gives us a good base starting point,” said Peter Pan Seafoods Bristol Bay manager Travis Roenfanz.
Maruha Nichiro sold Peter Pan Seafoods last year. The new ownership group is comprised of seafood entrepreneur Rodger May of Northwest Fish, the Na’-Nuk Investment Fund, managed by McKinley Capital Management and the RRG Global Partners Fund, managed by RRG Capital Management.
SalmonBusiness asked experienced industry seafood veteran Lance Magnuson of Hook Set Consulting, if labour shortages will be a potential issue for the wider (and remote) Alaska salmon industry.
“Unfortunately or fortunately, depending upon your point of view, reduced salmon runs through out most of Alaska will allow plants to staff without Herculean efforts. Bristol Bay will be a problem with predicted runs. Plants there are not allowing any outside visitors. Value-added (fillets) production will suffer with inadequate labor. Smaller fish complicate this situation as labor per pound increases due to size,” said former Blue North Fisheries director Magnuson.
Magnuson explained that climate change is already affecting Alaska salmon runs. “Sizes of fish harvested are declining indicating lack of ocean fertility. You can hatch more fish, change harvest guidelines and attempt to repair riparian spawning conditions but it’s impossible to change the ocean”.
“The United States has been too liberal, in my view, regarding unemployment insurance. With increases in federal payments during the pandemic, workers are reluctant to go back to work as they are making more money on the dole,” added Magnuson.